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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Unearth meeting with Villages in Action

A dozen history enthusiasts met in St Paul's Church, tonight. Kate Green from Villages in Action chaired the discussion, and charted the areas of interest which included: the railway, the hospital,  commerce and the growth of the community.

Jon Nichol took us through his paper:

Eight simple steps that ‘Doing History’ involves

1. Find a topic that interests you sufficiently to want to find out about it, something that will stimulate, engage, entertain, enrich and give pleasure while you work as a History Detective.

2. Ask an initial question or questions about the topic – question[s] trigger off your local history investigation. Without a question[s] there is no history!

3. Search for and find sources that might contain clues, evidence, to answer your initial [and subsequent] question[s].  Sources can include among others:
  • oral testament/ memory
  • physical – buildings: remains:
  • artefacts
  • place names
  • pictorial/visual
  • written/printed from the time your are finding out about
  • later books / journals /articles about your locality, i.e. histories

4. Where shall I look for my sources?
In your locality + the Internet + your local record office/archive + books/journals etc.

5.  Work on the sources:
  • Extract evidence, clues from your sources to answer the questions you asked
  • Record / Sort / Organise / Cross reference / Analyse – work upon, think about the evidence [clues]using a full range of your mental faculties, i.e.:
  • Imagine – Deduce - Connect – Fantasise - Think Logically & Laterally: Build Up Ideas – Hypothesise – Speculate – Argue/discuss - Test – Reach Conclusions based on evidence.
  • And, think of new questions, point 6, to deepen the enquiry.

6. Ask new questions  - repeat the investigative/enquiry process from point 3 to 5

7. Reach conclusions:  think historically
Draw on your historical knowledge to create your story /narrative / account / explanation in the form you think best

8. Form – decide on the ‘form’ you want to present your findings – for example

cartoon: documentary
display - poster - public
museum exhibition, with explanatory notice
newsletter article [e.g. for Starcross newsletter]
short written story
story to tell - verbal

+ Justification: Be able to explain upon what you based the ‘history’ you have created, i.e. its know that knowledge. Justification depends upon your know how knowledge, i.e.  I know how to prove that my history [interpretation] is probably true, based upon the evidence I drew from reliable, valid historical sources.’


Books, the internet, photographs and documents stimulated the discussion.
Visits to the South West Film and TV Archives, the South West Heritage Trust on Sowton, and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter are planned.
  • Invitations will be sent for a daytime session, in January, to record Starcross stories. A title for this activity is needed. ummm... Memories of Starcross. Starcross Memories. Remembering Starcross. Starcross Reminiscences. Back to the Future.  Starcross Stories. Share your Starcross Stories. 
project manager Kate Green 01363 773660 or 07976 712849

The Rattery group and the Starcross group have already set up pages on their websites for the Unearth project.
Link to the Rattery Unearth page
Link to the Starcross Unearth Page

A Facebook page: Unearth Heritage Project has representatives from each community as editors.
The next meeting to Unearth Starcross's history will be on Thursday, 8th December at 7:30pm in St Paul's Church. Everyone is invited. Whether you have a Starcross story to tell, or if you are just interested in the history of Starcross, please come along.

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